Opinion - Never take an unsuitable job
2015-09-01 17:29:46 -

Mariaam Bhatti: Tales of a Domestic Worker

One of the many lessons I have been given for free by friends of mine is that one should never take a job simply because it has been offered to them. This advice reminded me of many times in the past when I took jobs that were no good for me, or no good in general, simply because I felt I was letting down the person offering if I refused.
If you think about it, there are many people who are always looking for work, and one person turning down a job makes no difference unless it’s done in a very inconvenient way. I remember one time at a workshop, meeting a woman who looked very familiar. I forced myself to remember where I had met her, and during introductions, when she said her name I was pretty sure we’d been previously acquainted.
During tea break, I decided to go over to her to say hello and to ask if she was who I thought she was. It turned out she was a woman who had once offered me a childminding job. At the time I had just left my first job in Ireland and had started studying, doing a one-year childcare course. A friend had passed her number onto me, and the prospective employer had told me to meet her in Moore Street for a lift to her house.
Most of the interview was done while she was driving from town to her house, and on arrival I was given the ‘grand tour’ before we made the trip to collect her three children from school. I remember one of the kids protesting, refusing to say hello back to me, telling the mother that they wanted their usual childminder. I did not get to meet the father that particular day as he was in work, but I was told he would be the one relieving me in the evenings around 9-ish. It was also stated that sometimes I would have to sleep over at the house looking after the kids as both parents were on rotating shifts and sometimes both worked nights.
As I had started a course, the agreement was that I would have to be at the house before 8am to get the kids ready for and walk them to school. Thereafter I could go to college for 9.30 and as soon as college was over, I had to run to collect the youngest child at 1.30pm. It all sounded doable but I think I had not done reality checks with myself, such as that I had been in a similar kind of a situation before where I earned €400 a month for at least nine hours each day, five times a week and likely nights. 
I became concerned about the early morning rushes and trying to get a bus in the evenings late after 9pm, to walk 20 minutes to the nearest bus stop or take two buses, the last one being a 45 minute journey to the other side of the city where I lived. Not only was I going to need nearly two hours for travelling to and from the place, I was going to spend a good portion of my earnings on bus fares. 
Reality clicked in and I decided not to take the job, a day before I was to start. What I regret was not letting the lady know that I had changed my mind, which was very childish and inconsiderate. I owed her that. I should not have been afraid to protect myself from such working conditions. No one should take a job that doesn’t suit them just to make another person’s life easier. What about yours?

Mariaam Bhatti is a member of the Domestic Workers Action Group and Force Labour Action Group of the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland

TAGS : Domestic workers Force Labour Action Group of the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland jobs working
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